Smart Composite Factory – Cyber-Physical Systems in Fibre Reinforced Plastic Production
Digitalization of production techniques in Industry 4.0 has shown a recognisable potential in the textile industry. An annual increase in gross domestic product (GDP) of 1.7 % is expected in Germany as a result of Industry 4.0 developments . One of the main applications of Industry 4.0 ideology lies in its application of cyber-physical systems for quality assurance. Use of cyber-physical systems for quality assurance enables the reduction of production costs and time thus enabling high wage countries to maintain their competitive edge globally. Process chains for the production of composite materials are extremely complex since the material itself is manufactured as a part of the overall fabrication process. The production of a finished composite product incorporates several single process steps, each having a strong interdependency to the rest of the process chain. Digitalization and networking of these processes ensures critical information exchange required for maintaining product quality. The Institut fuer Textiltechnik (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University is establishing a digitalized model factory for the production of textile based composites, using existing technology for fiber production, cutting, handling, joining and consolidation of sub-components and sub-assemblies. This paper summarizes both opportunities and challenges of applying Industry 4.0 principles to production of composite parts. As an example, the digital communication between the production of tailored semi-finished parts and automated processing of those is shown.
Author: Yves-Simon Gloy
Conference: SAMPE Seattle 2017